South Florida Alimony Lawyer
In many cases, divorcees will find themselves in uneven financial situations following a divorce. Family courts attempt to balance these circumstances through alimony, a payment that the court may order one person to make to the other when a couple separates or divorces. At The Joseph Firm, our South Florida alimony attorneys pride themselves on securing the best possible outcome for our clients in divorce proceedings involving alimony or spousal support. Our attorneys encourage clients to learn the basics of Florida alimony law so they understand what’s at stake when going through the divorce process.
In divorce proceedings, the court may grant alimony to either party. There are several forms of alimony, and the court can order any combination of them:
- Bridge-the-gap alimony: One party pays alimony to the other for a maximum of two years to help assist him or her with short-term needs as decided by the court. If the party receiving the alimony remarries within this two-year period, the alimony requirement will be terminated. Otherwise, bridge-the-gap alimony cannot be modified in amount or duration.
- Rehabilitative alimony: In some cases, one spouse may quit his or her career progression to raise a family, or work to put the other spouse through school. After a divorce, the court may decide that this party lacks the skills needed to restart his or her career and support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to assist this party in establishing the ability to support themselves through either (1) the redevelopment of previous skills or credentials, or (2) the acquisition of education, training, or work experience necessary to develop appropriate employment skills or credentials.
- Durational alimony: The purpose of durational alimony is to provide a party with economic assistance for a set period of time following a marriage of short duration (less than 7 years) or moderate duration (7 to less than 17 years). Durational alimony may also be awarded following a marriage of long duration (17 years or more) if there is no ongoing need for support on a permanent basis. As with bridge-the-gap alimony, durational alimony terminates if the party receiving the alimony remarries. However, the amount of durational alimony can be modified or terminated based upon a substantial change in circumstances. The duration of the payments can only be modified under extreme circumstances and may not exceed the length of the marriage.
- Permanent alimony: When the court finds that none of the other forms of alimony are fair and reasonable, it may award permanent alimony to provide for the needs and necessities of life as they were established during the marriage for a party who lacks the financial ability to meet those needs following a divorce. These forms of alimony are generally awarded to those who have been married for a moderate to long duration, but can be awarded to those with marriages of short duration if there are written findings of exceptional circumstances as decided by the court.
In any award of alimony, the court may order periodic payments, payments in lump sum, or both. The court may consider adultery and related circumstances of either spouse when determining the amount of alimony, if any, to be awarded. When supporting an award or denial of alimony, the court considers all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party;
- The financial resources of each party, including both marital and non-marital assets and liabilities distributed to each;
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties and, when applicable, the time necessary for either party to acquire sufficient education or training to enable them to find appropriate employment;
- The contribution of each party to the marriage, including, but not limited to, services rendered in homemaking, child care, education, and career-building of the other party;
- The responsibilities each party will have with regard to any minor children they have in common;
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a nontaxable, nondeductible payment;
- All sources of income available to either party, including income available to either party through investments of any asset; and
- Any other factor necessary to create equity and justice between the parties.
Alimony laws are constantly evolving, and it is vital to have legal representation that remains up-to-date in this changing landscape to ensure you receive the best outcome in divorce proceedings. Attorneys at The Joseph Firm constantly research new bills, laws, and statutes to ensure we provide our clients with quality, informed representation. To schedule a consultation, please call (305) 501-0922 to speak with a South Florida alimony lawyer.